Chapter

The last revolution (1824–30)

in Worlds Before Adam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226731285
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226731308 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.003.0014
The last revolution (1824–30)

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This chapter traces how the “diluvial” enigma was addressed and how the effects of the “geological deluge” were being defined more precisely, or else explained away. Cuvier's and Buckland's dating of the interface or boundary event that separated the present human world and the “former world” of the rest of geohistory—equating it with the Flood recorded in Genesis and other ancient records—was widely criticized by other geologists; but almost all of them agreed nonetheless that it had been some kind of natural physical event of exceptional intensity. Sedgwick affirmed the reality of the distinction between the two classes of Superficial deposits: the more recent “Alluvial” deposits were clearly the products of ordinary actual causes, whereas the older “Diluvial” deposits were surely not. He concluded that there really had been an exceptional diluvial event or period in the geologically recent past. Whether it was recent enough to be equated with the biblical Flood was something that Sedgwick was content to leave to future research to decide.

Keywords: geological deluge; geohistory; Superficial deposits; alluvial deposits; diluvial deposits

Chapter.  7806 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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